The ANC in Parliament is pleased with the passing of the 2019 Appropriation Bill in the National Assembly (NA) today. In line with service delivery objectives as set out by the President in the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the NA considered and approved the budget votes of more than 40 government departments and other state institutions.
The Appropriation Bill is legislation that provides for the appropriation of money by Parliament from the National Revenue Fund (NRF), in terms of section 213 of the Constitution, 1996 and section 26 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), 1999; for the allocation of money to government departments. The passing of budget votes and approval of the Appropriations Bill marks the end of three weeks of multi-party debates, on proposed budget allocations for government departments and state agencies. An amendment to the Appropriations Bill includes the Special Eskom Appropriations Bill, which is Minister of Finance’s authorisation of R17.652 billion to settle debt obligations for power utility Eskom, on 2 April, in terms of section 16 (1) of the PFMA, which deals with the use of funds in emergency situations.
Parliament’s adoption of this year’s budget does not take place in isolation of the global economic climate. Mindful of this fact, the budget seeks to accelerate inclusive growth and create jobs whilst ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s finances, by containing the country’s budget deficit and through stabilising public debt. With grave concern, the ANC notes the deteriorating financial position of state-owned companies and the pressure this has placed on public finances, in light of these constrains, we support the priorities presented by the 2019 Budget which are:
• To narrow the budget deficit and stabilise the national debt-to-GDP ratio
• To Support restructuring of the electricity sector, and reduce the immediate risks Eskom poses to the economy and public finances
• To renew economic growth by strengthening private-sector investment, improving the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects, and rebuilding state institutions
We as the ANC in parliament applaud measures taken by government, to reduce spending and realign funding towards essential services. Keeping in line with government’s commitment to decrease public spending, over the next three year’s expenditure reprioritisation will result in minimum reductions of R50.3 billion. This is confirmation of our strong, resilient and creative endeavours to manage South Africa’s economic challenges; intensify job creation and radically reduce the levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The ANC is committed to early childhood development (ECD), eradicating illiteracy, improving quality of teaching, and to building capacity in higher education and training. It is within this context that education and health remain the apex of the ANC’s priorities. This year’s budget increases expenditure in these key departments, in efforts to expand access to education, particularly among the poor and previously disadvantaged. The Education Infrastructure Grant is allocated R34.3 billion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, to build new schools and maintain infrastructure at existing schools. An additional R2.8 billion is allocated to the school infrastructure backlogs grant to replace pit latrines at over 2 400 schools. An amount of R19 billion is provided for learner and teacher support material, and R3.9 billion is allocated to fund 38 000 Funza Lushaka bursaries for prospective teachers in priority subject areas such as mathematics, science and technology.
South Africa’s expansive road network is the bedrock of the South African economy. This road network which connects our country’s ports, cities and metropolises, plays a crucial role in stimulating economic growth, which is necessary for job creation. It is with this in mind that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is allocated R21.3 billion, to improve and maintain the country’s roads. Parliament’s passing of the budget votes today will also ensure that the ANC-led government delivers on its commitment to improve the country’s public transport system, with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) being allocated R16.5 billion. The Bill will be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for concurrence.
Issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, comrade Pemmy Majodina
082 694 1232